I have had aspirations of a Vitamix (or Vitamix-quality blender of any kind) for a while now. We started off our protein shake/smoothie habit with a Ninja blender, which worked great and we used happily for over 2 years! If you are going from zero blenders to one blender and aren't sure how much you will use it, the Ninja is a great value and perfect for starting out.
But, the more you use something, the more you get into making things like it, and with it. And before long, the higher quality version of that device is all you can think about. We definitely got our money's worth (it was actually our favorite Christmas gift from 3 Christmases ago from G's mom) out of the Ninja pre-upgrade.
Anyways, we found that having a starter blender is the gateway to wanting to make lots of different recipes, outside of the typical morning KayShake. Like, other types of smoothies, acai bowls, soups, marinades, and other recipes that require a quick puree. Within the past year we have completely fallen in love with all things South Block Juicery. We love their cashew mylk lattes, acai bowls, paleo donut holes (currently working out our own home-made recipe to replicate that deliciousness, stay tuned...), and other delicious dairy-free and vegan treats.
While not completely unaffordable, when one wants a cashew mylk latte daily, and an acai bowl at least twice a week, and then there are two of us... this is becoming a small fortune. So we promptly set out to make some of these recipes on our own at home. Starting with the acai bowl. And we got the taste almost there, but the Ninja was just not cutting it. It didn't blend fast enough and would overheat the ingredients causing the smoothie texture to be soupy with too much air whipped in. And if we added more frozen elements to combat that, it didn't have the power to pulverize the contents.
And that is what the Vitamix (or, I assume any commercial grade blender) achieves. Horsepower. The ability to pulverize absolutely anything in a matter of seconds. So your smoothies and other frozen recipes stay frozen and are blended quickly so not a lot of excess air is whipped in. It is also super easy to clean - once you're done, just rinse with warm water, fill half way with a drop of liquid dish soap, and blend on high for 30 seconds. Then rinse the suds away. Done.
I can't speak highly enough of it, and we haven't even used it for all of its potential. Just an FYI, we purchased the Vitamix 7500 from Costco, which is the best value on the market because it is the new low-profile design and comes with two takeaway cups/lids and a dry ingredients blender attachment (which would be used for making nut butters and other recipes that do not include a liquid base). These additions sold separately are pretty expensive. Costco also has a promotion right now with $60 off (through May 8, 2016), so we paid $540 for everything. Sticker shock?? Go online and do some research on how much a Vitamix can cost, and how it rates against other high power blenders on the market, then come back to this number and revel in its beauty.
We are still perfecting the recipes for our own home made acai bowls and paleo donut holes, but the Cashew Milk was an instant success!! And unlike other nut milks, no straining is necessary - you can just leave all of the pulverized cashews in the milk itself. It froths up when you heat it, which is great for making home made coffee and lattes as well.
1 cup organic raw cashews, soaked overnight in water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
+Drain soaked cashews
+Combine cashews with 3 cups of fresh water, dates, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon
+Blend on high (for Vitamix level 6-7 is good) for 30 seconds
+Store in mason jar in the fridge and use all week!
The cashew milk will be quite frothy once it is done being blended, but it will sort itself out as it sits, so don't worry about that. No straining required. It's so simple, and SO delicious. Dairy intolerant people of the world, rejoice!